Zelenskyy's Office Quiet on the Release of 24 Ukrainian Sailors
30 August, 2019

The lawyer to one of the 24 Ukrainian sailors that were illegally captured and detained by Russia in November told Hromadske that the sailors are on their way to Ukraine. The office of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, however, called upon the nation not to trust "disinformation."

"Once the mutual release of the detainees comes to an end, the Presidential Office will inform about it on the official channels," the Office's official Telegram channel read.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has also called on Ukrainians not to spread "unverified information."

"The difficult negotiation process around the prisoner exchange is still ongoing," SBU's spokesperson wrote on Facebook

At the same time, dozens of journalists, ordinary citizens, and even some of the prisoners' relatives have gathered at the airport "Kyiv" in the hope of witnessing the arrival of Ukrainian political prisoners. Among them are the mother of Ukrainian seaman Roman Mokriak and the father of naval officer Vasyl Soroka. 

In the early hours of August 30, the information about the release of the sailors, as well as other Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia – Oleg Sentsov, Volodymyr Balukh, and Pavlo Gryb – was published by Anna Islamova, an employee of the Ukrainian Parliament. What caused most of the Ukrainian media to report on this possible release was that Islamova's post was shared by the new Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Rouslan Riaboshapka.

The release of the 24 sailors was also subsequently confirmed to Hromadske by the lawyer to one of the seamen.

"They should already be there. They were transferred last night," lawyer Ayder Azamatov told Hromadske.

This information chaos comes just two days after Ukraine freed Kyrylo Vyshynsky, a controversial journalist suspected in high treason. In June 2018 Vyshynsky, who used to hold Ukrainian and Russian citizenships (double citizenship is prohibited by the Ukrainian law), renounced his Ukrainian citizenship. His release from custody was believed by many to have been a start of the big prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia.

READ MORE: RIA News-Ukraine Editor-In-Chief Kyrylo Vyshynsky Released From Custody